Show Coverage: Composites 2005

The American Composites Manufacturers Assn. presents its largest-ever trade event in the heart of composites country.
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The American Composites Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA) is calling COMPOSITES 2005, held Sept. 28-30, the organization's largest conference and trade show in its 26-year history. According to figures released by ACMA, more than 4,000 composites industry professionals, representing 48 countries and 49 U.S. states, converged on the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, during the three-day event.

Show highlights included conference keynoter Chuck Dana, president of Toledo, Ohio-headquartered Owens Corning, who enumerated the "Success Requirements for a Maturing Global Industry Poised for Growth." Robert Tucker, president of The Innovation Resource (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and an internationally recognized leader in innovation, moderated the Innovation Luncheon where attendees heard from leaders representing automaker GM, aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Co., materials OEM General Electric and the Ohio Department of Development. The latter was represented at the show by members of the Ohio Business Development Coalition (OBDC), which promoted its "OH! Polymer" initiative, designed to attract businesses in the advanced materials sector to the state. The initiative, part of the state's Ohio WIN program, springs from an ambitious public/private effort to bolster the state's economy by attracting new industries and nurturing those that already have established a strong base. Ohio ranks third in the U.S. in advanced materials businesses and first in plastics and rubber. OBDC showcased a variety of tax and other incentives that would be available for composites suppliers and manufacturers who startup in or relocate to the area.

Honoring Lifetime Achievements

In keeping with the show theme, "Driving the Industry," ACMA honored several individuals who are recognized as driving forces in key composites developments. Dr. Frank Cassis received ACMA's Lifetime Achievement Award. Informally known as the father of the underground gasoline tank, Dr. Cassis was credited by Association president Bill Kreysler with championing the use of isophthalic acid (developed during his 30-year tenure at Amoco) to make isophthalic polyester, the resin system that launched the industry's corrosion-resistant equipment sector. As a consultant (FAC Associates), Cassis was one of the architects behind AOC Resins' (Collierville, Tenn.) corrosion-resistant and flame-retardant resin lines. Award presenters, however, among whom was a former official of the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), celebrated his later role as a composites industry environmental impact spokesperson. In that capacity, Dr. Cassis helped SCAQMD avoid an unnecessarily stringent regulatory outcome that, given the fact that SCAQMD's Rule 1162 shortly became the baseline for regulatory debate in the U.S., could have crippled the industry.

Kreysler also honored Interplastic Corp.'s (St. Paul, Minn.) Terry McCabe, this year's President's Award winner, for his active involvement in designing resins for different processes employed within the composites and cast polymer industries and, notably, his efforts with coworker Everett Pearson to conceptualize the use of vinyl ester skin coats to prevent osmotic blistering in marine applications.

In recognition of their life-long commitments to the composites industry, George Dohn, recently retired from Alcan Baltek (Northvale, N.J.), and Gruber Systems' (Valencia, Calif.) Louis Garasi were inducted into the ACMA's Composites Hall of Fame. A 35-year industry fixture, Dohn developed some of the first composite sandwich applications, using balsa as a core material, and was the first to use laminate evaluation of mechanical properties to augment balsa sandwich design. A cast polymer pioneer, Garasi developed the first standard molds for cultured marble vanities and was a key founding member of the Cast Polymer Institute, now the International Cast Polymer Alliance.

On The Show Floor

Nearly 240 exhibitors displayed composite materials, processing equipment and a host of related products and services on the ACMA show floor. The CT editorial staff was able to visit with many who showcased recently developed technologies and services, of which the following is a representative sampling:

AFG USA (Alpharetta, Ga.) revealed its new line of 30 percent long glass fiber-reinforced thermoplastic compounds, in pellet form. The company imports Histron pellets made by its Korean partner KPI Co. Ltd. (Taiwan). The pellet-making process involves "air suspension" (separation) of the glass filaments just before impregnation with the thermoplastic resin to ensure thorough wetout. According to the company, the continuous process successively separates, impregnates, re-gathers and compacts fiber bundles into rods that are cooled and then cut to specified fiber length (as long as 12.7 mm/0.50 inch). Thermoplastic matrices may be polypropylene (PP) or Nylon (either PA 6 or PA 6,6). afgusallc.gocomp.biz/1

Alcan Baltek (Northvale, N.J.) introduced new AIREX T90 PET foam core, in a wide range of densities, for applications needing high compression strength. alcanbaltek.gocomp.biz/25

A&P Technology (Cincinnati, Ohio) announced its ongoing work in manufacturing affordable composite jet engine fan blade containment cases with braided architecture. The program is supported by NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The composite cases weigh 30 percent less than comparable aluminum cases. braider.gocomp.biz/15

AOC Resins (Collierville, Tenn.) presented two technical papers at the conference. The first, by Bruce Curry, described a new Vipel high-temperature vinyl ester resin suitable for hot chemical environments. The second paper, by Mark Harber, dealt with how to prevent color problems in thermoset cast polymer products. The company also announced that long-time industry expert Ben Bogner has joined its staff as infrastructure and chemical-resistant market specialist. aoc-resins.gocomp.biz/17

Arkema Inc. (formerly Atofina, Philadelphia, Pa.) showcased its DR or "Disappearing Red" ketone peroxides for polyester resins. Also highlighted were two new Luperox peroxide products: Luperox 223V75 was specifically developed for pultrusion, while Luperox MC is designed for closed molding, where longer gel time may be needed but cure must occur quickly. arkema.gocomp.biz/5

Ashland Distribution (Columbus, Ohio) announced that is now offering ACRASTRIP composite resin remover, designed to help companies meet environmental and competitive goals. Developed by U.S. Polychemical Corp. (Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.), the semi-aqueous acetone replacement is nonflammable and has a low hazard profile. It is an effective solvent for cured and uncured polyester, vinyl ester, epoxy urethane, methacrylate and other resins, says the company. ashchem.gocomp.biz/26

Ashland Specialty Chemical Co. - Composite Polymer Div. (Dublin, Ohio) promoted its new infusion molding lab, which allows its R&D scientists to better assess changes in resin formulation, gauge flow, compatibility of catalysts and temperature. Additionally, Ashland and development partner Signature Control Systems (Denver, Colo.) highlighted their FACTS (Flow Analysis Cure Time System) laboratory testing system for processors of sheet and bulk molding compounds (SMC and BMC). It combines Ashland's new Spiral Flow Mold concept and Signature's patented SmartLab controller. Unlike existing spiral molds, which gauge compound flow by forcing it through a spiral channel with a very small cross-section, Ashland's mold provides a wider (51-mm/2-inch) channel, which is said to more accurately simulate conditions in commercial molds. SmartLab uses impedance technology to measure the state of cure in real time. As crosslinking progresses, a sensor reads changes in the material's dielectric properties. The system graphs the change, producing a cure cycle "signature." The result is a means not only to test a compound's flow properties, but also to characterize its cure, establish reliable baseline processing specifications and adapt processes to batch-to-batch inconsistencies. System users can optimize processing time for each new product or batch, screen out-of-spec material and perform offline troubleshooting. ashchem.gocomp.biz/25, signaturecontrol.gocomp.biz/2

Bayer MaterialScience LLC (Pittsburgh, Pa.) displayed a product from Century Products LLC (Anaheim, Calif.) called LifeTime Lumber, which has the look and feel of wood but is made with Baydur composite material. The product uses a urethane chemistry in which fly ash (an inactive waste product from electric power plants), is the major component (65 percent fly ash, 5 percent fiberglass). The pigmented polyurethane component comes in either redwood or gray colors. Benefits are said to include greater strength than other wood-flour-filled products and less negative effect from thermal expansion/contraction. bayerus.gocomp.biz/7, lifetimelumberproducts.gocomp.biz/1

Bergen Materials Corp. (Elfers, Fla.) promoted its new, silicone-free BMC-767 air-release additive for unsaturated polyester resins. Similar to the company's BMC-757, the new additive offers excellent clarity and eliminates porosity and air entrapment, to prevent craters and pinholes and improve the optical and physical properties of plastic composites. Available in 35 lb pails and 400 lb drums, the product is added to the pigment grind before spraying. bergenmaterials.gocomp.biz/1

Binks ITW Industrial Finishing (Glendale Heights, Ill.) showed its new Boss pump, rated to deliver 57 L/min (15 gal/min) of fluid material at 60 cycles/min. Designed for high-volume filled-resin applications, the pump requires less than one-third the number of cycles required by conventional pumps to deliver the desired volume. The low cycle rate is said to result in less frequent repairs. binks.gocomp.biz/7

BYK-Chemie (Wallingford, Conn.) emphasized resin additives that help companies meet MACT regulations when using cold-cure and closed-mold processes, including BYK-P 9080, a flow promoter, for molders of Class A and LP sheet molding compounds (SMCs). The product is said to improve flow of the compound (making charge pattern and placement less critical), enhance paint adhesion and bonding, and reduce VOC emissions. byk-chemie.gocomp.biz/5

Ciba Specialty Chemicals (Newport, Del.) introduced Ciba EFKA 8512 wetting and dispersing agent, designed to reduce and stabilize resin viscosity so that higher filler loading can be managed. Also on display was Ciba EFKA 8385, the company's latest leveling agent, which is designed to improve leveling/de-aeration behavior. cibasc.gocomp.biz/2

First-time exhibitor CMS North America (Caledonia, Mich.) introduced CNC machining centers which, the company says, can operate 6 to 10 times faster than CNC machines that have traditionally served the composites industry (speeds in excess of 5,100 cm/min or 2,000 inches/min). The machines can be built to very large envelope sizes, up to 61m by 9m by 4m (200 ft by 30 ft by 13 ft), and reportedly maintain accuracy within +/-0.25 mm (+/-0.010 inch). cmsna.gocomp.biz/4

Cook Composites and Polymers (Kansas City, Mo.) introduced its Redi-SCRUB machine, designed to clean brushes, rollers and tools. Features include a stainless steel enclosure with bottom drain, for faster cleaning solution change out, plus a direct-drive motor that runs on shop air, and knee-bar switch activation of its rotating brush, which reportedly provides faster, more effective cleaning. Also new: THERMACLEAN resin r-t-u, a nonhazardous, "ready-to-use" water-based acetone replacement designed to emulsify resin and gel coat by mechanical action without requiring pre-use dilution or the use of heat. ccponline.gocomp.biz/8

Degussa AG (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) announced Dyhard URAcc, a new, halogen-free latent accelerator for heat-cured epoxy resins used in composite, adhesive and powder coating applications. The product is designed for compatibility with the established applications procedures used to process the currently most widely used halogenated latent accelerator, 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (Diuron, sold as Dyhard UR 200 and under a number of other tradenames). Users whose processes are "tuned" to the latter's curing profile may substitute the new product for UR 200, where entirely halogen-free formulations are required. Available in two forms, URAcc 13 accelerator and URAcc 43 accelerator/hardener, which reportedly improve economy, because smaller amounts of product yield comparable performance. degussa.gocomp.biz/2

Eastman Machine Co. (Buffalo, N.Y.) operated its Eagle Cutting Conveyor System, to demonstrate its decreased noise generation, touting its smaller footprint compared to previous cutters. The machine's self-contained high-flow vacuum system offers low-cost maintenance, the company says. Also on display: Manual cutting equipment, featuring the new BBS32 Gentle Giant shear; the pneumatically powered, lightweight 627XP Air Brute; and the Buzzaird Model BZ pneumatic shear, with optional three-blade configuration. eastmancuts.gocomp.biz/24

First-time exhibitor Electrical Fiber Systems (Douglasville, Ga.) announced its diversification into the fiberglass-reinforced polymer industry, displaying its plied fiberglass and texturized yarns. The company also offers plying and twisting of aramids, polyesters and other fiber types. electricalfibers.gocomp.biz/1

Elliott Co. of Indianapolis Inc. (Indianapolis, Ind.) announced an expansion of its custom-profile fabrication capabilities for its Elfoam polyisocyanurate core material, in densities ranging from 2.0 lb/ft2 to 6.0 lb/ft2 and a broad range of profile shapes, supplied in lengths up to 2.4m/8 ft. elliottfoam.gocomp.biz/1

New exhibitor Fiber-Line (Hickory, N.C.) displayed its line of functional coatings for reinforcing fibers. With a core business of coating optical fibers, The firm recently extended its capabilities to serve the structural reinforcement market, the company reports. The coatings offer color, UV inhibitors and other functional capabilities. fiber-lineinc.gocomp.biz/2

Fibertex A/S (Aalborg, Denmark) was a new exhibitor, introducing its Fibertex Compoflex nonwoven product. Developed in conjunction with wind blade producers Vestas and Siemens, Compoflex combines peel ply, release film, breather and bleeder into one easily managed consumable. Its softer, microporous surface is designed to permit peel at one-fifth the force needed to remove standard peel ply. fibertex.gocomp.biz/1

Finn and Fram Inc. (San Fernando, Calif.) discussed its largest roving cutter ever, likely the largest in the world, according to the company, which was built this year. The cutter simultaneously cuts 164 strands of roving and offers a working width of 406 cm/160 inches. finnandfram.gocomp.biz/3

First-time exhibitor Fein Power Tools (Pittsburgh, Pa.) displayed its Supercut oscillating power tools for boatbuilding applications. Blades on the cutters oscillate in a 4* arc, allowing the tools to perform tasks that previously required hand work, the company reports. Next-generation tools with dust collection will be released in the near term. feinus.gocomp.biz/1

Flemings Textiles Ltd. (Kilmarnock, Scotland) offered a broadened line of Polymat "High-Flow," a stitch-bonded reinforcement and flow medium intended for closed molding applications, including vacuum infusion. Made from a layer of thermoplastic core stitch-bonded to chopped glass mat facings, the material distributes resin up to 50 percent faster than any other flow media/mat combinations. Five densities are now available to suit specific customers' differing requirements. flemingstextiles.gocomp.biz/3

General Plastics Manufacturing Co. (Tacoma, Wash.) had its FR-4500 series tooling boards on display, showcasing the product's ability to produce chips when the material is machined, due to its special formulation. The board has no glass-bead fillers that could damage cutting tools, and an antistatic additive causes chips and particles to fall to the floor. The company states that it can maintain dimensional stability and uniform consistency throughout the material. Five densities are available (to 50 lb/ft3), with each density color-coded for easy identification. The material is available in sheets up to 48 inches by 96 inches by 12 inches thick (122 cm by 244 cm by 30.5 cm). generalplastics.gocomp.biz/25

Henkel Loctite (Madison Heights, Mich.) shared adjoining booth locations with sister company Frekote, bundling its adhesives business with its mold release business for customer convenience. henkelloctite.gocomp.biz/15

Hexion Specialty Chemicals (Columbus, Ohio) presented its Veriflect 2290 low-temperature-cure, low-profile unsaturated polyester resin for infusion and resin transfer molding processes. Formulated to resist flaws cause by fabric print-through and volumetric shrinkage that can occur when polyesters designed for open molding are used in low-temp closed molding. According to the company, the resin can be cured safely despite thickness variations from 100 mil to 350 mil in the same part, and commercially available catalysts can be used to vary the exotherm and cure cycle to fit the manufacturing need. hexionchem.gocomp.biz/8

Hollinee Glass Fibers (Shawnee, Ohio) showed off an improved FR Surmat Veil, a surfacing veil that incorporates Avtec (Hudson, Mass.) fire retardant technology. The veil is said to provide a smoother surface for easier processing, better wetout and greater uniformity. The company can provide rolls as long as 274m (900 ft) in widths as great as 152 cm (60 inches). avtecindustries.gocomp.biz/1, hollinee.gocomp.biz/1

IPS Corp./Weld-On (Durham, N.C.) promoted SS230 HV, a single-part, high-viscosity adhesive with a choice of four activators that offer working times ranging from 25 to 130 minutes. The adhesive experiences no exothermic boil, even in gaps exceeding 25.4 mm/1 inch. The product reportedly offers superior toughness and high shear strength, with reduced sag and sliding in large beads. It offers a high-quality film cure, little or no residual odor and is certified by Lloyd's Register. ipscorp.gocomp.biz/8

LAP Laser (Cincinnati, Ohio) touted several new features on itss CAD-PRO 3D laser projection equipment, designed to project accurate outlines for ply placement and other locating functions on contoured mold surfaces. The system can be equipped with one or two laser sources, with the latter able to project CAD data in red, green or both colors. For oversize areas, two laser sources can be linked to project outlines generated from a single CAD source. Additionally, the system has an automatic function that enables fast, easy calibration, says the company. lap-laser.gocomp.biz/10

Magnum Venus Products (Clearwater, Fla.) has a new automated control software system called MAC (Monitoring and Control). Used with the company's meter/mix and material application machines, the system permits a greater degree of control over material usage to avoid waste and improve manufacturing efficiency. mvpind.gocomp.biz/16

McClean Anderson (Schofield, Wis.) offered its recently introduced Flexwind machine control system for its filament winding equipment. The control system can run Patternmaster II programs and Seg, MMT, CHN and BUF files. Features include data and event logging; ramp-down at end of program and on approach to hard stops; and a user-selectable acceleration rate, plus customizable display screens and a user-friendly joystick mouse. mccleananderson.gocomp.biz/21

McLube Div., McGee Industries (Aston, Pa.) presented MAC 814, a dual purpose, semipermanent mold sealer and release product, formulated to provide enhanced surface finish and excellent release characteristics in composite parts molded with polyester, epoxy and phenolic matrices. The product is reportedly inert and thermally stable (315*C/600*F). Also on display were McLube 1733H colorless dry release coating, MAC 507 water-based release coating and MAC 818 water-based release coating. mcube.gocomp.biz/4

Meguiar's (Irvine, Calif.) offered MV-90, which the company reports is the only all-in-one water-based sealer and release agent, designed to provide multiple releases. Also new: MV-91 high-temperature paste wax, a fully synthetic blend (no carnauba) suitable for closed molding. Both products can be used in applications with curing temperatures as high as 206*C/400*F. meguiars.gocomp.biz/3

Milliken & Co. (Spartanburg, S.C.) premiered its Moldable Fabric Technology (MFT), a lightweight thermoplastic composite made from a polypropylene (PP) technology (pat. pend.) that retains its impact resistance at low use temperatures. Available in single- and multi-ply sheets, MFT is designed for use in pressure thermoforming processes. It consists of PP fiber yarn woven into a fabric, which then is impregnated with a PP matrix that has a lower-melt temperature than the yarn, effectively creating a PP fiber-reinforced PP composite. Layers of the impregnated fabric are stacked and consolidated via heat/pressure into rigid but thermoformable sheets in a variety of thicknesses. MFT is said to be significantly lighter in weight than GMT (glass-mat thermoplastic) and other heat-moldable thermoplastic materials. milliken.gocomp.biz/1

Mirka Abrasives (Twinsburg, Ohio) displayed Abranet abrasive mesh sanding discs, with abrasive materials strategically adhered to a durable, disc-shaped open mesh. Special backing on the disc enables hook-and-loop attachment to sander pads. The open mesh design is said to radically reduce disc clogging, while the sander's integrated vacuum apparatus draws sanding dust through the mesh, away form the work surface. Benefits reportedly include extended disc life and nearly dust-free sanding. The company's 5-inch and 6-inch discs are compatible with its BullDog sander, which feature an integral, high-velocity vacuum system. mirka-usa.gocomp.biz/1

Nida-Core Corp. (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) introduced Nida-Core H8PP, which features Twintex grid (supplied by Saint-Gobain Vetrotex, Valley Forge, Pa.) for applications that require increased rigidity for thinner grades. Composed of a layer of Copolymer Structural honeycomb, a barrier film (to reduce resin consumption), a Twintex fiber grid and polyester scrim cloth (for 100 percent bonding surface), the product is said to be suitable for solid surfacing applications as well as thin-grade veneer (e.g., 1.5-mm Okoume) stabilized applications. The grid's Twintex R PP roving is made from commingled E-glass and polypropylene (PP) filaments. Consolidation is done by heating the roving above the melt temperature of PP matrix 180*C to 230*C (356*F to 446*F) and applying pressure. nida-core.gocomp.biz/31, sgva.gocomp.biz/18

Noveon Specialty Additives (Manchester, U.K.) discussed its Solplus D540 hyperdispersant, which can be used to permit the use of a higher percentage of filler in a resin without an corresponding increase in viscosity or decrease the viscosity of a highly loaded resin to improve its processability. noveon.gocomp.biz/1

Owens Corning (Toledo, Ohio) introduced SE 2350 single-end Type 30 roving, designed for use as a reinforcement in composite high-pressure pipe, including epoxy-based pipes that handle corrosive materials. The roving reportedly offers a 17 percent improvement in burst strength over competing products, a 10 percent increase in cyclical regression (stress) strength, plus a 41 percent increase in manufacturing efficiency and 35 percent reduction in rework costs. The product's lower frictional resistance reportedly reduces fuzzing and eliminates broken strands. Improved burst strength is said to offer the opportunity to reduce pipe thickness by 10 percent, resulting in comparable cost reductions. OC Automotive unveiled AcoustiMax substrate, a lightweight glass mat composite said to improve the structural and acoustic properties of headliners, trunk liners, package trays and similar automotive components. owenscorning.gocomp.biz/19

Precision Fabrics Group Inc. (Greensboro, N.C.) exhibited a new conductive Nexus polyester surfacing veil, made from polyester fibers with a proprietary conductive carbon coating. According to the company, the veil costs much less than all-carbon fiber products but has similar conductive properties. precisionfabrics.gocomp.biz/13

Propex Fabrics Inc. (formerly Amoco Fabrics and Fibers, Austell, Ga. and Gronau, Germany) touted Curv, a self-reinforced polypropylene (PP) fabric panel, made of woven PP fibers held together with PP film layers. Using a "hot compaction" process, the panels can be formed under pressure to make PP-reinforced PP composite products, like sport helmets or luggage, with high tensile strength and impact resistance at low density. fabricsandfibers.gocomp.biz/1

Pro-Set Inc. (Bay City, Mich.) showcased thixotropic laminating resins, toughened and fire-retardant laminating resins, fast curing adhesives, crack injection adhesives, and systems for use in potable water applications. Each formulation is tailored for the customer, for example, giving a resin an out-time of more than 24 hours for large laminating projects. Also available is a new fairing compound, with the designation 185/285, designed for filling and fairing applications on wood, composite or metal structures. The low-density materials mix easily, spread smoothly, are easy to sand and exhibit very low shrinkage, says the company. pro-set.gocomp.biz/3

R.J. Marshall (Southfield, Mich.) has combined the natural beauty of granite with the functionality of fiberglass composite in its GranitClad natural stone product, made from StoneRidge Thin Stone. The stone is quarried and cut to a thickness of 1 cm/0.375 inch, compared to typical granite countertops of 3 cm/1.2 inches. Fiberglass composite backing supports the stone, reportedly providing a countertop material 10 times stronger, yet 70 percent lighter than traditional granite, which can be installed over existing countertops. rjmarshall.gocomp.biz/11

Rim-Craft Technologies Inc. (Kannapolis, N.C.) showed off its RIM-Slave resin pump outfitted with a diaphragm and slave pump combo that eliminates pistons and seals, thus enabling the pump to run filled resins without the usual wear problems. Also on display: the company's Big Chipper, which can spray granite and other finishes that contain large chips onto fiberglass substrates. Other markets for the pumps include the tub/shower and spa industries, as well as molding applications that use filled resins in resin transfer moldiing (RTM) and RTM Light processes. rimcraft.gocomp.biz/4

Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics (SGTF, Brunswick, Maine) introduced eight new glass reinforcements: MAXFLOW Infusion Fabric features a fiber treatment in which trace amounts of special flow-promoting fibers enhance resin flow and wetout, to avoid resin-starvation. Multiaxial complexes combine chopped strand mat, polypropylene core and biaxial knits to make a highly drapeable fabric for preforms used in Light RTM processes. Tackified fabrics: the entire SGTF portfolio of reinforcements is available with a light coating of nonpermanent adhesive on one or both sides, enabling placement and repositioning of dry fabrics on vertical mold surfaces. The adhesive requires no release paper and will not transfer to mold surfaces or technician's tools/gloves. New knits for infusion processes now come in superheavyweight fabrics, made from three plies of C-5200i fabric, available in 0*/90* (to 156 ox/yd2), +/-45* (to 80 oz/yd2) and quadraxial (to 104 oz/yd2) formats. New UNIFLOW Complexes attach multiaxial fabric to high-drape, continuous-strand mat, to reduce laminate spring back during wet out in resin transfer molding processes. For closed molding, MultiMat-Lite is composed of a polyethylene core with chopped glass mat stitched to both sides. The initial product weighs 210 g/m2. Other weights are in the works. sgtf.gocomp.biz/4

Schmidt & Heinzmann GmbH & Co. KG (Bruchsal, Germany) discussed its new roving cutter, which incorporates a lift to eliminate the need for a crane to service roving tubes. Knives can be changed on the cutter in under two minutes, the company reports, and maintenance is reduced from six hours to two minutes, the company says. schmidt-heinzmann.gocomp.biz/1

spheretex America Inc. (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) emphasized infusion and RTM Light processes with its new sphere.ax C/P, sphere.core SBC C/P and sphere.mat C/P, each of which incorporates a polypropylene flow medium into the product. These offerings are made especially for closed-mold processes, the company reports. spheretex.gocomp.biz/2

Structural Composites (West Melbourne, Fla.) displayed its infusion preform board, which accommodates pressurized feeding for faster infusion. The company also showed off its spray-on bagging system, which replaces vacuum bags with a liner that remains as part of the product. In marine applications, this liner provides acoustic damping. structuralcomposites.gocomp.biz/1

Thinky Corporation (Tokyo, Japan and Kennesaw, Ga.) introduced to the U.S. composites market its patented "rotation/revolution" mixing technology, designed to prepare extremely well-dispersed, foam-and bubble-free mixtures of a wide variety of materials, including those with very high viscosity. Available in six models, the Thinky Mixer series units accommodate standard container sizes (50 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml, 1 liter and 3 liter), and mix materials under vacuum by rotating (spinning) the container at high speed while simultaneously subjecting the container, mounted at a 45* angle in a centrifuge, to a force of more than 400G (at 2,000 rpm). The combination of rotational and centrifugal forces provides powerful mixing forces, while the vacuum promotes degassing. The mixers reportedly eliminate sub-micron bubbles impossible for other mixing methods to eliminate. thinky.gocomp.biz/1

Vectorply (Phenix City, Ala.) showed E-QXCFM 4715-1, a quadraxial fabric with predominant fiber orientation at the 90*, which supports boat bottom panels with less deflection than traditional balanced quad construction, the company reports. Combined with a VectorHiflow continuous strand mat, E-QXCFM 4715-1 reportedly offers excellent infusion rate, minimal fiber compaction under vacuum and predictable laminate thickness. vectorply.gocomp.biz/8

Xamax Industries Inc. (Seymour, Conn.) offered its surface-modifying products, which allow fabricators to produce rougher, smoother, UV-resistant, abrasion-resistant, impact-resistant or low-porosity surfaces within the fabrication process to eliminate secondary processing. xamax.gocomp.biz/2

In addition to its Flex-Z variable-release slipcoat system, Zyvax (East Ellijay, Ga.) also exhibited its Waterclear solvent-free cleaner. The product cleans semipermanents off tools with a foaming process that can be easily rinsed with water. It also is designed to clean laminated parts. zyvax.gocomp.biz/11